Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Years ago someone in the AOL homeschooling discussions said she never liked to think of "a bad day," but only a bad moment. The next moment might always be better.

That changed my life.

Last weekend, I was thinking a lot and talking a bit with some others about moments, about the value of moments, and hobbies, and work and activities. Moments have different value to different people, certainly.

I'm heating my hot tub, which uses wood. It's right at 100 and I'm aiming for 105 degrees F, and the moon's coming into view through some trees and I was reminded of a Robert Louis Stevenson poem about the moon in a bucket.

Today I was reading a book called Your Brain on Music, and yesterday I was reading some very cool reviews of the top 200 songs of the 1960's, because I went to see what others might think about the residual value of "I Want You Back" by the Jackson 5, which has a really great bass line and chord progression. It was #2 on that list I found. #1 was "God Only Knows" by the Beach Boys, which is the closing theme in "Love Actually," a sweet and funny movie with a parody of "Love is All Around You" by the Troggs.

Last weekend I was thinking about moments, about how many hours of preparation or travel or build-up precede every magic moment in a life, and what makes a thing "worth it."

When, standing stirring my hot tub, I saw the moon this evening, with the past few days' thoughts shuffling and settling in my head, I understood something about haiku for the first time ever. The good ones describe a moment, a perception—one point in time, and the breathtaking thought of an instant.

My next-door neighbor's name is Harry. He was in the Navy in WWII, on a submarine in the Pacific. He was young, and far from Pinos Altos, New Mexico, his boyhood home. He said the officer on watch invited him up to look out at the surface of the ocean, and he saw the rising moon's reflection like a silver road to the horizon. The day he described it to me I got a shiver.


It was stars in a bucket, not the moon:

...and the pail by the wall
Would be half full of water and stars.

from ""Escape at Bedtime"

Top Ten of the 1960's (part of a top 200 series, with very interesting notes on the songs and photos of the artists from the time)

my hot tub (but without the moon and the beautiful darkness)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

control and jealous craziness

Someone wanted to control me and this blog SO MUCH that when posting criticism didn't work to get me to change something, the anonymous commenter called the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department. Someone from the Differential Response Team contacted me (not the investigative team) but more on that in a bit.

The complaint was received that I had put my fifteen year old daughter's learner's permit on and it had her address on it. (here)

I said it wasn't a learner's permit (which is a little blue piece of paper), but a real driver's license with a nice photo, but it was an image and not searchable by google, and I wasn't worried.

It was the job of the social worker to make sure I was aware of the potential dangers, and that Holly was safe. We had a long, pleasant conversation.

Someone who wanted to make me more afraid of the world just ended up wasting state funding and a social worker's time and my time to try to control me.

So about how I was contacted, that's interesting. The stated problem was that I had revealed the whereabouts of my house online. Yeah, I have a page with a map to it and a photo, too, but that didn't help. And I think anyone with google could get my address anyway, for knowing my husband's name, because we're listed in the phonebook. But with all that *DANGEROUS* exposure, the social worker left the contact letter on the wrong house. She left it stuck in the door at 2905 Tahiti STREET, not Court. The woman who lives there and I exchange mail when it's misdelivered, so she called me and I walked up there and got it, called the phone number on the letter, got a recording and left my phone number.

When people live openly and honestly, life is better. I use my real name, I don't post (or call state offices) anonymously, my children are happy and safe. Those who hide and fear are living in fear and hiding. Those who are spiteful tattlers trying to control other people should try controlling themselves better. Plant some flowers, start a collection, learn some new recipes, color your hair... —control your own environment. Hide if you want to, but don't try to make others hide. Be afraid if you want to be, but don't try to make others afraid just so you feel more justified.

The reason I wasn't afraid to call the social worker back was that our kids are safe and loved and not neglected or abused. They've all been to the dentist lately, two have orthodontia, they're all healthy and happy, they have their own rooms, Holly has 23 pairs of shoes (she just cleaned her room and was amazed, and most were given to her for her collection of 80's stuff, or were used one way or another)—when I was her age I usually had one pair of shoes, sometimes two. My mom drank, we didn't always have food in the house, and my parents smoked in the house like crazy. My kids' environment is pretty ideal compared to many. Yet an anonymous stranger wants me to change...

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Holly drives, I feel changed

Holly has driven three times on her own. She took herself to her babysitting job one day. She delivered something to a friend for me and hung out a little while. But last night she really drove by herself. It was different.

Yesterday afternoon she asked if her friend Sierra might could come over. They had planned to go to an 8th grade dance together, but because Holly doesn't go to school there it was a no-go. Turned out, though, Sierra was watching her little brother. So Holly wanted to go hang around with Sierra and help.

We got the other mom's okay, and then it happened: Holly got the keys and started to leave. And it felt wrong and scary to me. Not scary like something might happen to her; she's careful, and it was an easy drive on six-lane roads at 35 mph in town, Juan Tabo and Montgomery.

What seemed wrong was she didn't need me, and what seemed scary is I don't have any little kids anymore.

It might sound silly but the feelings were strong. When Kirby first drove, I still had two little kids. When Marty first drove, I had experience watching a kid leave, and I still had Holly. Now... Now I'm expendable. Yikes!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Rising expectations

There is a big campout every year here, and the first time I went was in 1976, but I didn't camp. I came in costume and visited for a long afternoon.

The year after that, thirty years ago, I came with a group of eight people, six of whom I had costumed medievally (oh... I didn't mention it's an SCA campout called the Grand Outlandish Tournament, and in recent years just "Grand Outlandish"), and had a tent and two coolers full of food, and two banners.

I still have those banners. It's a tribute to trigger cloth. "Trigger" is short for "Outrigger" but it wouldn't fit in the field when early computer inventories came along and the beginning fell off, I hear, which is ia good story if it's true. So this trigger cloth, I can attest, can last a long long time in the desert of New Mexico.

This year our camp will have fifteen people or so, fifteen tents or so, (some we made), ten or twelve coolers, probably ten banners, wooden tables and benches made by my husband, we'll have candle-lit dinners in a dining hall (a tent with those tables and benches, with table cloths and cloth napkins)... it's a weird, weird, hobby, I know. There's a photo of our dining hall some years back. I still have most of those dishes. I was at a feast with the guy in the middle just last Saturday (Martino, who used to live here and now lives in Calontir).

Here's a photo of me in 1985, with two tents I made, one of which (the striped one) is still functional and will be used in our camp this year. That's made of "trigger cloth" too, now that I think of it.

That's me in the green, before I was ever even pregnant with Kirby, in my pre-mom days.

What used to be good enough, for me, for my camp, has escalated gradually over the years, and I guess that's how it goes with lots of activities and hobbies. It seems an inavoidable human trait, to try to do the best we can do under the circumstances, and expecting that we can do better. Luckily, I have a team. Sadie/Beatrice helped me cook. Kate is cooking for Saturday and Sunday. Keith/Gunwaldt can make tents from ropes and poles on the spot, and has the engineering urge and ability to have created a dining hall tent and furniture for it. We have friends and offspring who are energetic and strong and can put the camp up and help maintain it. I couldn't begin to even WANT to do it myself.

And so I'm back now to sewing and cooking so those people who can do the things I can't do will look a bit more marvelous doing it, and have some food afterwards.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Holly news, Sandra muse

Holly got her driver's license yesterday. Tomorrow she's babysitting, and she can drive herself.

Today I got a root canal. I'm not putting in a photo of that. On the way home I called Keith and thanked him for being able to afford that, and having insurance to cover most of it. I was able to go and get the painkillers and antibiotics without having to wait for Friday or having to go without groceries. Keith takes care of us, and that's a noble and wonderful thing.

When I met Keith he was unemployed and I was working in the profession of my plans and dreams. Then for a while I had a different job, but a good job, while he was working here and there for minimum wage. I was never worried about the future. He graduated from college at 29, finally, after starting and stopping and changing majors several times. All through there, I knew we would be okay, and today I could get $1000 worth of oral surgery and drugs without worrying. I feel fortunate and grateful. Also I'm in a little bit of pain, so I guess I'll take another of those dizzy-making pills.

I had lunch (fairly soft lunch, milkshake and the barbecue sandwich) with Dermod at Blake's and that was sweet and peaceful. I'm glad he shared his lunch break with me.

Marty's at the skate park. Kirby's playing World of Warcraft. I'm going to go back to working on a dress for Sadie/Beatrice.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Irene and Gina

This is not a new photo, and I didn't take it, but it's a wonderful photo, and I just scanned it so I can send the paper copy to my sister. The people in the photo are my sister, Irene, and her oldest child, Gina, fifteen years or so ago.

You can click it to see a larger image. I like that sweetness can be kept in an image that way.